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Invisible children: There is still a lack of specialized help for children at risk in the Czech Republic

The number of children exposed to domestic violence is increasing. In 2023, the Intervention Center – Spirála, Ústí Region, registered 291 children at risk in the region – that is 18 percent more than in the previous year.

The number of children exposed to domestic violence is increasing

| Photo: Illustration photo Diary

This follows from the statistics of intervention centers for persons at risk of domestic violence by force. At the same time, experts draw attention to gaps in the prevention of violence against children, especially the lack of specialized services for children at risk.

In the Ústí Region last year, the Police of the Czech Republic reported a total of 181 rapists from a shared dwelling out of a total of 1,268. This puts the region in the sad first place in terms of the number of reports per inhabitant (1 report per 4,477 inhabitants).

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As a result of these reports, 759 people ended up in the care of the intervention center at the Ústí organization Spirála last year, of which 291 were children. Compared to 2022, this is an 18% increase.

Therapeutic program

As part of a therapeutic program for families threatened by partner violence Spirála provided assistance to 202 people, of which 92 were minors.

Experts also draw attention to the year-on-year increase in the number of children exposed to domestic violence, whether as victims or witnesses, but also to the lack of specialized help for vulnerable children in general.

According to experts, practice often shows that workers who deal with cases of domestic violence or otherwise encounter children at risk still do not know how to talk to them, where to send them and how to help them. It can take months to a year for children to receive the intervention they need.

Project LEAVE ME! aimed at preventing child abuse:

Source: Youtube

“The first contact and timely help of a competent worker, i.e. an expert who knows the specifics of domestic violence, knows how to talk with a traumatized child, perceives the impact of violence on children and their further development, is important,” explains crisis interventionist Martina Vojtíšková from the organization Spirála Ústecký kraj and at the same time chairwoman of the Association of Workers of Intervention Centers of the Czech Republic.

Help however, these children are still not sufficiently systematically ensured or coordinated. There is a lack of low-threshold crisis centers, psychological and psychiatric care for minors. The worst situation is in the Ústí and Moravian-Silesian regions,” adds the expert.

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Last year alone, Spirála trained 151 social workers of OSPOD, crisis services and low-threshold facilities for children, as well as police officers and employees of other institutions, as part of the project TOGETHER: HELPING CHILDREN, WORKING TOGETHER. And in cooperation with the Association, they spread awareness about the phenomenon of so-called transgenerational violence.

A third of Czechs experienced violence in childhood and adulthood

According to the Association’s latest research, almost a third of Czechs (31.8%) who have experienced domestic violence in their lives experienced it in childhood even in adulthood, either as a witness, victim or perpetrator of violence.

According to psychologist Ludmila Čírtková, who works with both organizations, a so-called carousel of violence is created. The normalization of violence reduces an individual’s ability to recognize violence and abuse in adulthood.

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It can be difficult for victims to realize in time that what is happening to them already exceeds the limits of acceptable coexistence.

Spirála, Ústí Region offers support to individuals and families in crisis and victims of domestic violence. It operates not only in Ústí nad Labem, but also has contact or detached workplaces in Děčín, Litoměřice, Most, Chomutov, Louny, Rumburk. It provides clients with a range of specialized services such as a therapeutic program or legal assistance. It also operates a Crisis Intervention Center, an Intervention Center for persons at risk of domestic violence or a Helpline. More at

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